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Hospital chief was overpaid treble the top rate allowed for her role as she received £105,000 more than she should have in just four months

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Hospital chief was overpaid treble the top rate allowed for her role as she received £105,000 more than she should have in just four months

Hospital chief was overpaid treble the top rate allowed for her role as she received £105,000 more than she should have in just four months

  •  Gaynor Thomason, 61, was paid the equivalent to a £469,500 annual salary

A hospital chief was overpaid treble the top rate allowed for her role at a Welsh NHS health board – and took home £105,000 more than she should have in just four months.

Gaynor Thomason, 61, was appointed interim director of nursing and midwifery which offers a maximum annual salary of £149,334 – but she was paid the equivalent to a £469,500 annual salary.

She was in the post between April and July last year at the Labour-run Betsi Cadwaladr health board in North Wales.

Ms Thomason’s excessive salary came to light when the health board’s finances were scrutinised in an Audit Wales report.

Bosses at the board have vowed they are ‘determined to improve’ after it was returned to special measures in February. 

Hospital chief Gaynor Thomason, 61, was paid the equivalent to a £469,500 annual salary, which meant she took home £105,000 more than she should have in just four months

The Welsh Government states the role should come under pay band 14 offering the maximum annual salary of £149,334. Her pay also exceeded the amount approved by the health board’s remuneration committee.

Ms Thomason – an experienced NHS consultant who has worked for different health boards – confirmed she was employed in the post at the time. She said she was not told of any rate regarding Welsh government salary rules – and it is not alleged she did anything wrong.

The report by Audit Wales gave a ‘qualified’ or adverse opinion on the health board’s accounts.

It found ‘misstatements’ of amounts totalling more than £1million and executive pay which exceeded approved amounts.

The report said the chief executive’s salary was wrongly reported as £208,000 before being amended to the correct figure of £223,000.

North Wales Police launched an investigation into the board – and a final report is being complied before findings are released.

Carol Shillabeer, interim chief executive at Betsi Cadwaladr health board, said 2022 to 2023 was a ‘very challenging year’.

She added: ‘The accounts from that period have been subject to rigorous audit and the reasons for their qualification by the auditor general is clear.

Gaynor Thomason, 61, was in the post between April and July last year at the Labour-run Betsi Cadwaladr health board in North Wales

‘The new board is determined to lead improved governance, including financial governance, and a range of immediate improvement actions are already underway.’

Betsi Cadwaladr, based in Bangor, is the largest health organisation in Wales and is responsible for care services for more than 700,000 people.

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams said that it was ‘another day another scandal’ for the health board.

He said: ‘It’s been apparent there have been serious issues within the board, especially on the management side of things, for some years. But this is very striking, someone being paid so much money, and without the proper approval required.’

Welsh Conservative MS Darran Millar added the qualified outcome of the audit ‘raises serious questions about the effectiveness of the Welsh Government’s intervention and escalation regime’.

He said: ‘Taxpayers in north Wales must have confidence that those responsible for spending on public services are good stewards of the limited resources allocated to them.’

The Welsh Government said the issues raised by the auditor were a matter for the health board.

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